TODAY'S TOP STORY: A report by the state coroner of New South Wales in Australia looking at drug-taking at music festivals could prove politically explosive, with Harriet Grahame likely to conclude that many efforts to combat drugs at largescale events actually put festival-goers at risk... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES New South Wales state coroner to recommend overhaul of drug polices at music festivals
LEGAL MegaUpload lawsuits postponed yet again
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING MMF's Accelerator Programme for artist managers returns for second year
BRANDS & MERCH Bring Me The Horizon use Spotify listening data to generate personalised merch
GIGS & FESTIVALS Thom Yorke announces UK tour dates
Emika announces UK shows
ONE LINERS Kanye West, James Blunt, Mayer Hawthorne, more
AND FINALLY... Pharrell "embarrassed" by Blurred Lines lyrics
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New South Wales state coroner to recommend overhaul of drug polices at music festivals
A report by the state coroner of New South Wales in Australia looking at drug-taking at music festivals could prove politically explosive, with Harriet Grahame likely to conclude that many efforts to combat drugs at largescale events actually put festival-goers at risk.

Grahame has been investigating anti-drug tactics employed by police at largescale events after examining the drug-related deaths of six young people at Australian music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019. Her final report will be submitted next month, but Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph has seen a draft recently sent to health ministers and police chiefs in the state.

In it the coroner says that having a heavy police presence and sniffer dogs at festivals can actually put young people at risk, as it makes them more likely to consume any drugs in their possession in higher quantities, in order to avoid detection. Meanwhile, the report supports the proposal of having pill testing facilities on site at festivals, so that people intending to take drugs know what substances - and at what strength- they have actually acquired.

These proposals echo those of drug safety campaigners in the UK and elsewhere, who argue that it's unrealistic to pretend that all drug taking at clubs and music festivals can be stopped, and instead of investing in measures that criminalise those in possession of illegal substances, resources should instead be invested in harm prevention projects that enable safer drug taking.

According to the Telegraph, in her report Grahame writes about her experience attending two music festivals to see the state's anti-drug policies in action. "There were lines and lines of police and dogs. I was surprised at how intense it was", she writes. "It made me feel nervous".

The report later recommends that, "given the evidence of a link between the use of drug dogs and more harmful means of consumption (including double dosing, pre-loading, swallowing drugs and insertion in a vaginal or anal cavity), the model of policing music festivals be changed to remove drug detection dogs".

Other recommendations include "decriminalising personal use of drugs as a mechanism to reduce the harm caused by drug use", and "the introduction of a best practice model for pill testing/drug checking".

It's thought that at least some politicians and police chiefs will strongly oppose Grahame's recommendations, reckoning that they will result in an increase in drug-taking at music events overall.

The Telegraph quotes one unnamed police officer as saying Grahame's report basically proposes condoning a drugs "free for all" at music festivals, while a forensic psychiatrist is referenced arguing that the provision of pill-testing services simply "normalises" the consumption of illegal substances.

However, there will be plenty of people in the festival community who will welcome Grahame's findings, hoping that it might result in a shift in regulations and policing that could allow an increase in harm prevention programmes at major music events.

And with this debate ongoing here in the UK and elsewhere, promoters and campaigners beyond New South Wales will be interested in reading Grahame's report, and assessing how the political community responds to it.


MegaUpload lawsuits postponed yet again
The civil lawsuits filed by the music and movie industries against one-time file-transfer platform MegaUpload have been kept on ice yet again. A court in Virginia has confirmed the litigation will stay on hold until at least April next year.

The major labels and Hollywood studios sued MegaUpload for copyright infringement after it was shut down by the US authorities in 2012. However, it was decided that it would be better if that litigation occurred after the criminal case against MegaUpload and its former leadership, including founder Kim Dotcom, had gone through the motions.

Dotcom et al are accused of criminal copyright infringement and various other crimes in relation to their former business. However, extraditing the MegaUpload team from their current home country of New Zealand to the US has proven very time consuming indeed. And while multiple courts in NZ have concluded that there are grounds for allowing the extradition, all routes of appeal have not, as yet, been exhausted.

So, while it is sensible to allow the criminal case to proceed first, and then have the civil litigation afterwards, that means the lawsuits filed by the labels and studios have now been postponed multiple times.

And, according to Torrentfreak, the latest such postponement has just occurred. It was legal reps for the MegaUpload defendants who requested that the cases remain on hold, but neither the labels nor the studios objected. Although the latest postponement is until next April, it seems likely that there will be further delays beyond that date.

The extradition case in New Zealand has now reached the country's Supreme Court. But even if the top court allows extradition, it would still need to be approved by the relevant minister in the NZ government, and there could be yet another appeal at that final stage. Even if Dotcom was ultimately extradited to the US, any resulting criminal proceedings could take considerable time to be completed.

So, it seems likely plenty more ice will be required to keep the civil lawsuits fresh as the incredibly long-running MegaUpload saga drags on.


MMF's Accelerator Programme for artist managers returns for second year
Applications have opened for the second round of the Music Managers Forum and YouTube Music's Accelerator Programme For Music Managers.

The scheme offers bursaries of up to £15,000 and over 100 hours of professional mentoring, training and masterclasses to UK-based music managers. It is also supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Music Industry Association.

Aiming to increase the number of sustainable full-time music management businesses operating in the UK and to empower those companies to work with a greater range of creative talent, the first batch of 24 managers to benefit from the scheme was announced in January this year. Since then, they have increased their collective number of clients by 20% and scored new label, publishing, touring and sync deals across their rosters.

The next round of beneficiaries will also receive a travel bursary to attend a European music conference, to help them develop their businesses internationally.

Paul Bonham, who has overseen the Accelerator Programme for the MMF, says: "I've been genuinely THRILLED to see Accelerator's impact on the lives and livelihoods of our first 24 participants. As much as the funding and masterclasses they've received, what's really impressed is the bond and network they've forged".

He goes on: "With the support of YouTube Music, Arts Council England and the SMIA, and so much generous support for industry speakers and partners, we're laying strong foundations for the future of music management - and therefore benefitting artists, writers and producers too".

Applications to be part of next year's programme close on 25 Oct. Find out more here.


Bring Me The Horizon use Spotify listening data to generate personalised merch
Bring Me The Horizon have launched a new website allowing fans to get personalised merch based on their Spotify listening data linked to the band's latest album 'Amo'.

Different coloured t-shirts are generated based on each fan's listening data. They can then see if they just like all the popular songs, or favour less popular songs, based on how many of each different colour t-shirt has been generated.

The band will then tailor their live shows to whichever colour they see most of in the audience, before ordering those with the least popular t-shirts out of the venue. OK, I made that last bit up. But no one's said I'm wrong yet.

The website demands access to your Spotify account and various levels of access to your data. Once you get past that, you choose your six favourite tracks from 'Amo' and, it claims, your "Spotify listening data is then matched against the loudness and energy of those tracks, drawing on data from music intelligence platform The Echo Nest".

You can also get your t-shirt without a Spotify account though, just putting in your six favourite tracks, so I'm not sure how much extra is actually going on if you do hand over access to your streaming data.

Just for you, I tried it both ways and it didn't work for me on either occasion, so I won't be sporting a BMTH t-shirt of any colour. You can give it a go at amoincolour.com if you want.


Approved: Hello Cosmos
Hello Cosmos continue their run of increasingly good singles with 'Let Love Be The Island On Which We Stand'. Led by Kendall Calling and Bluedot Festival founder Ben Robinson, the band made their first tentative steps last year, really cementing their status earlier this summer with the excellent 'Run For President'.

Featuring a more electronic sound than the post-punk of other releases, built from loops made during early recording sessions, the new track features lead vocals from Jordan Hodson. As the track grows in intensity, Robinson's vocals then battle their way to the front.

"The song title of 'Let Love Be The Island On Which We Stand' was originally written on my honeymoon about my better half, Dr Roxy", says Robinson. "But it seems to have taken on a potent message in the current climate. The guest vocal is by Jordan Hodson, it's our first time working together but hopefully not the last. She has a really versatile range which is rare to find".

'Let Love Be The Island On Which We Stand' is the first track taken from the band's second EP, set for release later this year. You can catch them live at Manchester's Soup Kitchen on 31 Oct.

Listen to 'Let Love Be The Island On Which We Stand' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Thom Yorke announces UK tour dates
Thom Yorke has announced tour dates for next summer, including two nights at London's Hammersmith Apollo.

Performing alongside Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barri, he will play tracks from across his solo catalogue and Atoms For Peace's 'Amok' album.

Atoms For Peace, in case you forgot, is the band he formed with Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Beck drummer Joey Waronker and Forro In The Dark percussionist Mauro Refosco.

The shows will come a year after the release of Yorke's latest solo album, 'Anima'. Here are the dates:

19 Jun: Glasgow, SEC Hall 3
20 Jun: Manchester, Victoria Warehouse
23 Jun: London, Hammersmith Apollo
24 Jun: London, Hammersmith Apollo


Emika announces UK shows
Emika has announced new tour dates which will see her bring all the different strands of her music output together, from electronic to classical.

"This tour is a journey beyond worlds, bringing my classical, electronic and piano music together", says the musician. "I have a new way of performing where I can improvise live and being able to bring fans my orchestra music followed by all my synth music in one night, is a dream I have been working towards for my whole life!"

"It's an honour to have been invited to play in different countries and places", she goes on. "As my fans keep calling I will keep working on bringing my classical x techno concept to many more cities in 2020".

So there may well be more chances to see her as yet, but right now here are your dates:

1 Dec: Edinburgh, Paradise Palms
4 Dec: Birmingham, Horse & Hounds
8 Dec: Bristol, Louisiana
9 Dec: London, 100 Club

Now, let's all watch this behind the scenes video from Emika's recent planetarium show in Berlin.



After several missed deadlines, Kanye West's new album 'Jesus Is King' apparently has a new release date of 25 Oct. That's when a film about the making of the album is out in IMAX cinemas, so it would make sense. But when did anything Kanye-related make sense?

James Blunt has released new track 'I Told You Here'. His new album, 'Once Upon A Mind', is out on 25 Oct.

Mayer Hawthorne has released new single 'Over'. "This is my favourite song I've written in a long time and I'm so stoked for you to finally hear it", says Hawthorne. "When you're done listening, start it OVER". See what he did there?

Caroline Polachek has released new track 'Look At Me Now'.

Having just played their first live show for four years, The Locust have also released new music in the form of new track 'Recyclable Body Fluids In Human Form'.

Joy Crookes has released the video for new single 'Early', featuring Jafaris. She begins a sold out UK tour later this month.

KO has released new track 'I Was', taken from upcoming mixtape 'Drilliam Shakespeare'.



Foals have announced that they will tour the UK in April, starting at Edinburgh's Usher Hall on 29 and hitting London's Olympia on 2 May. The band's new album, 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2', is out this week.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Pharrell "embarrassed" by Blurred Lines lyrics
Pharrell Williams has said that the controversy about his lyrics in Robin Thicke's hit 'Blurred Lines' made him reconsider the content of his songs.

Speaking to GQ, he says: "Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place. I think 'Blurred Lines' opened me up".

"I didn't get it at first", he admits, talking about all the criticism of the 2013 record, which was courting controversy long before the copyright dispute with the Marvin Gaye estate. "There were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, wow - they would have me blushing".

"So", he adds, "when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, 'What are you talking about? There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up'. And 'I know you want it' - women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it's like, 'What's rapey about that?'"

However, he goes on: "Then I realised that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn't matter that that's not my behaviour. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, 'Got it. I get it. Cool'. My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel. Even though it wasn't the majority, it didn't matter".

"I cared what they were feeling too", he continues. "I realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn't realised that. Didn't realise that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind".

He goes on to say that 'Happy' - which, apparently, he originally wrote for CeeLo before releasing it himself later in 2013 - was something of a turning point in his approach to lyrics. Although that song did then appear on his 2014 solo album 'Girl', which had some questionable 'Blurred Lines' style lyrics on some of its other songs.

Still, if people pointing out the flaws in Thicke's single did have a profound affect on him and his future lyrics, which he says it did, then something positive did come out of all of it.

Though, if he's now embarrassed by the song, that must have made it all the more annoying to have to talk about it at length once that copyright dispute with the Gaye estate got to court. But maybe having to hand over all those royalties to the Gayes after losing the case doesn't feel so bad.

Anyway, speaking of the 'Blurred Lines' trial, why not listen to this special edition of our Setlist podcast all about that big copyright case? It even has some discussion of the controversy surrounding the lyrics.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights and CMU Pathways consultancy units and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU InsightsCMU Pathways and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
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